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Digital Portfolio Project Part I

The disposition I believe that I have made the most personal growth in this semester is
the Constructivist Approach to Teaching and Learning. Ana Mara Villegas and Tamara Lucas
discuss in their article, Preparing Culturally Responsive Teachers: Rethinking the Curriculum,
the six qualities of being a culturally responsive teacher. Quality four explains the constructivist
views of learning that a culturally responsive teacher possesses. The authors state that To
support students construction of knowledge, teachers must help learners build bridges between
what they already know and believe about the topic at hand and the new ideas and experiences to
which they are exposed (Villegas, 2002, p. 25). Within my internship, I had a few opportunities
to perform a whole-class instruction. These lessons allowed me to build on what my mentor
teacher had already taught them, check their prior knowledge of the topic, and utilize hands-on
activities that made the content more interesting and meaningful. By giving whole-class
instruction, I learned to ask more questions instead of giving answers and to make the
mathematical topics more engaging by exposing students to intentional activities.
Culturally responsive teaching in my classroom will be the expectation that I set for
myself and partially my students. Any expectation I have of my students will also affect me since
I want my students to know that we are equals in the learning environment, with the stipulation
that I am the facilitator of the classroom. I know that patience is key to being an effective teacher
as there are many different learning styles that I need to address in each class period. I believe
that every child has the ability to learn, just not on the same day or in the same way. With this is
mind, I will explain any math concept to my students the best I could. If I see they are not
understanding it, then I will try to adjust my explanation by asking them where their confusion or
misunderstanding lies, and then tailor my explanation to developing that understanding. In doing

so, I plan on showing students the value in understanding others perspectives.


Additionally, I want my students to feel that the classroom is a safe and comfortable
learning environment. To help achieve this goal, I want students to understand that respect will
play a key role in building this environment. Each person within the classroom has the
responsibility of giving everyone the opportunity to learn and feel safe. The teacher and students
should feel a sense of personal responsibility of creating this classroom environment, which can
be obtained when all are trying to make this goal possible. In doing this, I plan on having
students perform critical consciousness within the classroom, which can then be applied to their
everyday lives. Elizabeth Kozleski states that Culturally responsive teaching helps to bridge
different ways of knowing and engages students from non-dominant cultures in demonstrating
their proficiencies in language usage, grammar, mathematical knowledge and other tools they use
to navigate their everyday lives (Kozleski, p. 3). I want my students to make a meaningful
connection to the concepts they will be learning and their everyday lives, so I plan on using the
principles of culturally responsive teaching to achieve this goal.
Throughout my life, I have thoughtfully worked on seeking to understand the viewpoints
of others when speaking with them in a conversation, which has inadvertently helped me to
develop my Interpersonal Awareness. I believe that to truly understand someone, one must gain
insight into their thinking by asking questions to help clarify any statements or misconceptions.
The lack of understanding comes from the lack of communication between people, so it becomes
important for me to routinely check in with certain individuals when any problem arises or
questions come up. Since I am able to recognize the limits of my own perspectives while gaining
insight into the other persons perspective, I plan to utilize this strategy to help me communicate
often with my students, their parents, and my colleagues. Open communication between all

parties will help ensure that anyone is comfortable to talk to me whenever needed.
Since I have a better understanding of my own Interpersonal Awareness, this has enabled
me to work on Suspending Judgement. I believe that everyone deserves a fair chance in life,
whether that be in the classroom or with me. With that in mind, I try to recognize when I do not
have complete information about a person or complete situation and seek to learn more instead
of judging beforehand. By utilizing this strategy with my students, their parents, and my
colleagues, I plan to take a step back to assess the situation that might arise. This will require me
to suspend judgement and react accordingly to make an important and appropriate decision to the
situation.
After suspending judgement, my next focus becomes my Locus of Control. By focusing
my energy and attention on the situation at hand, I can know more about what is within my grasp
of control and which abilities I possess that will be most effective. The most important aspect of
this will be the learning outcomes for my students as I need to know which course of actions will
be most appropriate to help them achieve those outcomes. Knowing what I can do will help me
reveal what the parents can do to help their child at home with the material and assignments in
my class. Relying on my colleagues for additional help will enable me to use other resources
instead of entirely depending on myself.
By using Asset-based Thinking, I can utilize the many assets that my students, their
parents, and my colleagues have and that are within my grasp. Each individual has something of
value that will be useful in student success. For this, I plan on working with my students and
asking them about the activities that would be most meaningful to their learning. Their feedback
will help me plan more intentional lessons and activities, which can improve their overall
success in my classroom. Then by seeing what resources are available at home for students, I

plan to understand what assets the parents can bring to the classroom. Each colleague will be
beneficial to mine and my students success as they will have additional resources and
knowledge that I could utilize and learn from for my own classroom. From all the professional
competencies, I plan on using them as the driving force to helping me build positive relationships
with my students, their parents, and my colleagues.
As a math teacher, I will allow students to express their opinions, justify their
thoughts/actions with reasonable evidence, use critical thinking and analysis skills, and much
more to show them that learning is not only in the classroom, but it can be applied into the real
world, which can then lead to changes they would like to see. The key skills that students will
develop in my classroom include justification, critical thinking, and communication. Through
learning, I want my students to apply their new learning to something in their lives or community
that they would like to change. This will allow myself and the students to become more
culturally aware of the need within our surrounding community.
Attitude is everything when it comes to interacting with another individual. If you show
someone a negative attitude, such as anger or disrespect, then the opportunity to learn from one
another becomes closed. If you show someone a positive attitude, such as optimism or
attentiveness, then the doorway is open for a meaningful conversation. Villegas and Lucas
expand upon this by stating that Teachers attitudes toward students significantly shape the
expectations they hold for student learning, their treatment of students, and what students
ultimately learn (Villegas, 2002, p. 23). As the teacher, I must put aside my negative attitudes,
whether towards the students or another person, so that learning can take place within the
classroom environment. I would like to keep this in mind as I try not to let past experiences with
a student determine the way I treat them on another day. By holding myself and my students to a

high expectation, it will keep everyone accountable to let go of negative attitudes so that positive
learning, the right treatment of others, and what is ultimately learned in the classroom can be a
great experience for all.

References
Kozleski, E. B. (n.d.). Culturally Responsive Teaching Matters! Equity Matters: In Learning,
for Life, 1-6. Retrieved from
http://www.equityallianceatasu.org/sites/default/files/Website_files/CulturallyResponsiv
eTeaching-Matters.pdf
Villegas, A. M., & Lucas, T. (2002). Preparing Culturally Responsive Teachers: Rethinking the
Curriculum. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(1), 20-32.
doi:10.1177/0022487102053001003